This article begins with a spectacular film of a man traversing a snowy ridge on telemark skis. In the distance, one can see a beautiful culmination of mountains fading into the sky. It seems as if the film maker applied a miniature effect to give the appearance of how grand the terrain is, but you immediately feel pulled in by this adventure when the skier starts to pace his telemark turns against the fog, wind, and snow. You feel as if you’re part of the journey, not only going up the mountain, but down as well.
The man behind this amazing video is Sébastien Montaz-Rosset, a mountain guide, telemark ski instructor, and film maker. His talent was partly a result of experimenting and several years working on different brands and advertising for various businesses.
I had the fortunate chance to speak with Sébastien and ask him questions about his work.
Facing the side of a technical ascent, with skis on his back, or filming a short series for L’Aigle des Neiges, Sébastien involves himself with a fresh approach to filming in any situation. He’s also the culprit behind a series of amazing adventure videos, mini documentaries, and snow report videos like this:
Armed with a Canon 5D Mark II, Dynastar skis (a popular brand at Mont Blanc), and alpine bindings, Sébastien trails Ludovic Genes in the video “I’ve Got Talent”. Framing the perfect shot is more than just pointing the camera at someone:
“It’s about picking the right people, with the right skills. There aren’t many competent skiers that have a background in climbing who are safe on the way up and safe on the way down.”
But being flexible seems to be the key when filming on terrain like Mont Blanc:
“I try not to be choosy; safety first. The mountain will decide, but I rarely miss shots.”
Sébastien usually carries up to three lenses along with the new VIO headcam that allows him to shoot in full HD at a 170 degree angle. Additionally, software allows Sébastien to correct the curvature produced from the camera. Stabilization is handled through Final Cut using the SmoothCam plugin.
Twelve years ago, Sébastien started his life in telemark skiing. On powder days, he prefers to ride on telemark skis, mainly the Dynastar Pro Rider 184. For something requiring ski mountaineering with skins, crampons, and ice axe, Sébastien would use the Dynastar Mythic Riders.
I asked Sébastien about his favorite location and why he favours the area:
“I’m tempted to say the Mont Blanc range; it’s a tiny range with a lot of possibilities and with a lot of vertical drop. What I like to do the most is combine mountaineering skills and steep skiing behind it. The Mont Blanc area, whether it’s the French, Italian, or Swiss side has a lot of potential. It’s a tiny place but it has a vertical dimension where you go up and down quite quickly”
In addition to having an amazing area like Mont Blanc to explore and seek the full potential of athletes, Sébastien also finds inspiration in conventional forms such as advertising videos. This is all part of finding your own formula when creating films:
“My main inspiration is from advertising videos… like french film maker Bruno Aveillan. To me he has strong skills and potential to make to make you travel through the images he’s producing”.
But to Sébastien, the one ingredient to a successful recipe is to expose yourself to shooting on a frequent basis:
“If they want to do something in film making, professionally, it’s about the shooting. The more you shoot, the more you are getting sensations and getting an eye for what you’re doing. It’s good to study film making, but go out and shoot and shoot and shoot, and edit as much as possible, and see what other people are doing. It’s not about copying others, it’s about being inspired by other people.”
“In the past, big businesses used to employ production companies for whatever project they have (like athlete portraits). But with the DSLR revolution, freelancers can do as good or better. There is a niche and a big market combined with social networks… all brands will need quality content, and production companies won’t be able to offer that because the price is too high”.
Being a mountain guide is only part of the excitement in Sébastien’s life. His free time includes bouldering, slacklining, golf, and fly fishing.
Delivering a series of webisodes will be the focus for Sébastien this year. These videos will include base jumping in a wingsuit with Géraldine Fasnacht, free ski mountaineering with a local skier, and a highlining combined with mountaineering video. For a taste of highlining, have a look at ”Skyliners” which follows a group on Mont Blanc.
I would like to thank Sébastien for taking the time to speak with us. We look forward to some new telemark videos!
Where do you like to telemark ski? Share your thoughts with us!